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Architecture camp allows teens to plan Omaha developments

Jul 24, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A handful of teenagers guided by professional architects have come up with a plan for one of Omaha's most historic yet evolving urban strips.

The four girls and four boys developed ideas for a downtown corridor during a weeklong architecture camp. The teens learned about style, form and building materials, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

The teens transferred their plans onto 3-D software and eventually attached a cluster of work-live structures onto the 10th Street Bridge. Each boxy building hanging over railroad tracks below would offer an attractive view and a storefront offering services such as pet grooming.

"What we're trying to do here is be atypical, to break the mindset of what is normal to what is possible," said Matthew DeBoer, local president of the American Institute of Architects.

The latest camp partnered with the AIA to provide guiding professionals. DeBoer said the goal is to motivate teens to go into a design-related career path.

"We hope that many might be inspired to go down that path, become the next generation to replace us," he said.

After guidelines from mentors, students began creating their building plans, knowing they would present their plans to parents and friends on the final day of camp.

Mentors told parents that such a bridge community is not currently on any developer's radar. But that's not to say it couldn't be built by someone who can afford to.

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